PROVO–Provo has new hockey team, The Provo Riverblades. Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi, Provo Riverblades Managing Partner Kevin McCloskey, and other dignitaries will make it official at a press conference on Thursday.
The elite U20 Junior hockey team is the highest level of hockey played by amateur athletes in the world, according to a press release sent out Wednesday night. The league includes players under age 20 who are competing to advance to NCAA and professional hockey.
“In the absence of sports due to COVID-19, it’s particularly exciting to announce a new community sports offering for Provo and Utah County,” according to Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi. “The Provo Riverblades have already shown their strong community support by choosing a name reflective of our identity and history.”
Mayor Kaufusi says in addition to the entertainment, the team will help the economy in Provo, with the 20 home game schedule benefitting hotels, restaurants, and shopping centers.
The Riverblades will play in the United States Premier Hockey League. The USPHL is the largest junior hockey league with teams around the U.S. The Riverblades will compete in the Mountain Conference.
Conference competitors will include the Northern Colorado Eagles, Pueblo Bulls and Utah Outliers. Provo Riverblades managing Partner Kevin McCloskey says teams in Colorado and Utah are already drawing big crowds.
“We believe we will achieve the same level of interest and excitement here in Provo with the Riverblades and having two other Utah teams in the league will make for great rivalries,” says McCloskey.
The Riverblades new head coach Mike Callan, recruited from Pittsburgh, says the team will recruit players from all over the world to come live in Provo for seven months during hockey season. The players would live with host families during their stay.
Players report late August, with the season set to start mid-September and conclude in mid-March.
The team will play a 53-game regular-season schedule with 22 home games. Playoff games will be determined based on the team’s seeding in its division.
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